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ZkSync Controversy: Top Ranking Projects Not Included in Ethereum’s ZK Token Airdrop

Last Updated June 13, 2024 12:50 PM
James Morales
Last Updated June 13, 2024 12:50 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Matter Labs faces a backlash after prominent ZKSync projects reported that they weren’t included in the planned ZK airdrop.
  • NFT marketplace, development platfrom zkApe and decentralized messaging app DMail have all been excluded from the event.
  • The airdrop criterea have also been criticized for rewarding bots while genuine users remain ineligible.

Matter Labs has announced the first round of ZK airdrops which will distribute 17.5% of ZKSync’s native token on June 17.

However, the upcoming airdrop has become embroiled in controversy after several prominent ecosystem participants revealed that they haven’t been included in Matter Labs’ plans.

ZKSync Projects Left Out of Airdrop

Following Matter Labs’ announcement, several projects built on the Ethereum Layer 2 ZKSync Era expressed outrage at not being included in the airdrop.

These include the NFT marketplace, Element, which according to NFTScan data , accounted for 69.39% of the total trading volume on zkSync Era in the month to June 12.

Lamenting its exclusion, Element wrote : “as the largest NFT marketplace on ZKSync, we didn’t receive any airdrops, is this a joke?”

Meanwhile, the NFT development platform zkApe reported that it was left out of the ZK airdrop despite generating $15 million in gas fees for zkSync.

Similarly, the decentralized messaging platform DMail said  it was “unbelievable” that one of the apps with the highest number of users and transaction activity on the Layer 2 should be excluded.

Campaigning for a Fair Token Distribution

In a statement  on Wednesday, June 12, zkApes said it had formed a coalition with Element, imToken, Argent and Basmati to petition Matter Labs to include them in its airdrop plans. 

Members of the coalition have committed to distributing any ZK tokens they receive to their respective user communities. They have also called for cryptocurrency exchanges not to list ZK until the controversy is resolved.

ZK Airdrop Criteria Criticized

Alongside disgruntled app developers, the planned airdrop has also been subject to criticism from other quarters of the ZKSync ecosystem.

Crypto investor Adam Cochran has argued that the ZK distribution criteria favor airdrop farmers over genuine users. Echoing his concerns, Polygon Chief Information Security Officer Mudit Gupta called the event the “most farmable and farmed airdrop ever.”

According to Gupta, Matter Labs made little effort  to filter out Sybil accounts, i.e., groups of wallets operated by a single entity but made to appear independent. 

But in a statement  attributed to Matter Labs, the firm explained that the decision was intended to ensure real users weren’t inadvertently excluded: 

“With 6 million unique addresses on ZKsync Era, it’s tempting to eliminate bot swarms by applying strict sybil criteria. But Sybil detection often cuts out real users with arbitrary filters.”

Regardless of the logic behind ZKSync’s airdrop criteria, many users have reported being ineligible and #zkscam is currently trending on X. When more than 3300 wallets  from Arbitrum’s “Sybil list” are eligible for the ZK airdrop, is it any wonder genuine users are frustrated?

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